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Cameron Mitchell to reopen Big Rock restaurant

By Lisa Brody

The Big Rock in Birmingham on the site of a former railroad station will rise again, as Cameron Mitchell Restaurants out of Columbus, Ohio, reopens the site as Big Rock Italian Chop House.

Big Rock Chophouse had been located at 245 S. Eton Street in the historic Birmingham Train Station. Prior to opening as Big Rock Chophouse, the train station was restored in 1984 and converted into a signature restaurant called Norman’s Eton Street Station by restaurateurs Norman and Bonnie LePage, who began their long tenure in hospitality when they quit their jobs in 1969 and opened a doughnut shop. They announced the closure of Big Rock Chophouse in September, 2021, with the iconic restaurant closing at the end of 2021.

Cameron Mitchell Restaurants are familiar to those in the Birmingham area, as it owns and operates Ocean Prime in Troy, and prior to selling them to Ruth's Chris Steak House in 2008, created and opened Cameron's Steakhouse and Mitchell's Fish Market, both on Willits in Birmingham.

According to its website, the restaurant group began at Cameron Mitchell's mother's dining room table, where Cameron said he mapped out his career goals.

“In 1993, Cameron signed a lease for a small piece of storefront property, tucked in the northwest corner of Columbus. The space would be transformed into his first restaurant, 'Cameron’s.' This contemporary American bistro wowed Columbus diners with its diverse flavors selected from across the American culinary landscape as well as its extraordinary attention to service. Cameron’s was a notable success, especially when considering Columbus’ highly competitive restaurant business climate… While remaining independent and privately held, Cameron Mitchell Restaurants has grown to 43 restaurants across the country from Beverly Hills to New York City, and 18 different concepts in 14 states and the District of Columbia. In addition to Cameron’s, the concepts are: Cap City Fine Diner & Bar, The Guild House, Hudson 29 Kitchen + Drink, Martini Modern Italian, Marcella’s, Ocean Prime, Molly Woo’s Asian Bistro, The Pearl Restaurant, Tavern & Oyster Room, The Barn at Rocky Fork Creek, The Avenue Steak Tavern, Del Mar SoCal Kitchen, Lincoln Social Rooftop, El Segundo Mexican Kitchen, Prime Social Rooftop, Del Mar Naples, Valentina’s (opening 2023) and Cento (opening 2023).”

At the Birmingham Historic Design Committee on April 19, a design review application from the Cameron Mitchell Restaurant group was reviewed for minor cosmetic changes to the building along with some modifications to outdoor dining. Among the changes requested were to build a pergola on the north side of the outdoor dining area, where the valet stand stood, to remove it and build additional outdoor dining with a pergola, outdoor fireplace and hedge screening.

A special land use permit for Big Rock Italian Chop House will be reviewed by the city's planning board.


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